Losing my father at a young age, and starting on my path as an artist and jeweler were directly related. It was difficult for me to share such a personal story with the world.
This year, I decided to let everyone see the real me. You can read it on my blog here. Big thanks go to Christina Rasmussen of Second Firsts for encouraging me to share.
Speaking of Christina, she was one of the clients that I worked with using a more intuitive approach to custom design. I looked at her photos, and came up with this design without asking her many questions.
She was very surprised to see the drawings, in which I captures her deep affinity for the ocean. She now wears this ring when appearing as a public speaker, and it helps her connect into the power of her message.
After many years, I returned to Japan to visit my husband's family. We began in Tokyo, stayed in a small town beneath Mt. Fuji, went west to Osaka and his ancestral town. We then took a tour around the Izu Peninsula, famed for hot springs. Somehow, I ended up as the designated driver!
In between all of the visits to family and friends, we took a day to visit one of my favorite cities, Kyoto. Pictured above is the Kiyomizu-dera temple, perched atop the hills that surround the city.
Every time we visit Kyoto, we seriously consider taking an extended sojourn in this elegant city.
When I am not in the studio creating, I like to move.
After recovering from an injury last year, I began studying the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira. Above you can see me training with another member of my group. called Grupo Ginga.
Similar to karate and other martial arts, we have a ranking system in our school of capoeira, which are cords instead of belts. In October, I received my first cord in capoeira.
As any martial artist can tell you, it is a source of great energy and lessons for life outside of training. Here is the website for my group.
If you aren't familiar with a mastermind, it is a group of people that band together for mutual support, exchanging ideas and holding each other accountable.
There are masterminds run by famous business coaches, charging big bucks. This mastermind was self-generated by all of the lovely women in the photo, who have a huge range of skills.
It is my wish for everyone to have their own mastermind, to help them stay on track in life, and have all of the support they need.
The 10,000 Small Businesses Program sponsored by Goldman Sachs has already graduated 7 classes of business owners. All of them businesses that have employees and substantial revenue.
This year, Tory Burch decided to have her Foundation co-sponsor the first class of all-women businesses, many with no employees yet.
It has been a great challenge and an inspiration for me to be part of this class of incredible women. The course is challenging me in many ways about how I can grow my business.
There are some big opportunities ahead of me, and I now know how to lay the proper groundwork for big success.
What were your big moments of 2012? I hope you will take some time to reflect on some of the great things that have happened this last year, because even in the toughest years, we can find something to celebrate, and accomplishments to acknowledge.
Talk to you again in 2013!
Here is the second video in my series, in which I explain the process of selecting gemstones for custom pieces. If you want to check out the book I mention, here is a link to it on Amazon.
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Here it is...my first video in the Custom Jewelry Guide. This series will take you through all of the steps in creating a custom jewelry piece. Please make sure to comment if you have any questions about custom jewelry. I will respond in a future video.
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Claire and Georg, celebrating their engagement
I am often incredibly touched by the stories that accompany the gifts of jewelry that I make. Sometimes, the jewelry is a physical aspect of the most beautiful aspects of being human. It was my honor to be part of one of those very special stories this spring.
Claire is a friend from way back. In fact my parents have been friends with her parents since we were infants. Claire and I became close in high school, when a year in between grades becomes a little bit less significant. We often spent time together watching movies followed by eating diner sundaes. After I moved to New York, I was delighted when Claire followed a few years later, becoming a teacher in the NYC school district. We now live a ten minute walk from each other in Brooklyn.
Besides being a very dedicated teacher, Claire is also a very talented photographer, with a specialty in street photography. Her portfolio is on flickr, and she has some amazing photos there. Really, check out her photos.
Through the photography community, Claire had the good fortune to meet Georg, another talented photographer. After admiring each others' photos, it came to be that Claire and Georg met, when he visited NY from Germany, and they also fell in love with each other! This is such a wonderful turn of events, that I get watery-eyed even writing about it.
I was so honored and delighted when I received a message that they had become engaged, with a request for me to make a suitable engagement ring. I immediately thought of the ring shown above, mostly due to a ring that Claire loves to wear, passed down to her by her mother, and this ring leads to yet another layer of this family story.
Claire's mother, Paula is from Portugal, and her father is from Germany. They met while studying English in London. After meeting, Paula left to work in Mozambique, and Claire's ring is a memento of her mother's time in Africa. While she was in Africa, she was writing to Paul, and they had their own long-distance love story. Eventually, they were reunited, married and moved to my hometown of Racine, WI.
Paula is possession of gold British imperial coins, which were passed down to her by her relatives, so I was requested to make the ring the ring out of this gold and I readily agreed. As the coins very high karat gold, when I made the recipe for the gold for Claire's ring, I had the choice to make a redder color of gold, matching the color of the ring from Mozambique.
With all of these various strands coming together, as they do for all couples, making wedding bands is a wonderful things indeed!